A New Concept gets an outboard redesign but keeps its performance chops and weekend cruising ability.
The steady roar of twin Yamaha F200 outboards. The whipping wind caused by our 44 mph top speed. The thrill of a sporty lean during hard turns. I was enjoying the ride in the cockpit of a Jeanneau NC 895, and I knew it was going to be fun to drive once I had my chance. I was right.
Standing at the helm proved to be problematic for my six-and-a-half-foot-tall self, because my line of sight was above the top of the windshield, but the bolstered captain’s chair was a comfortable perch on which to sit, drive and see, so operating the boat was easy. The sport wheel and the engine controls are side by side on the lower angled portion of the dash, with trim tab and bow thruster (yes, a bow thruster) controls in the same neighborhood. On the flat middle section of the dash are a cupholder and the Fusion stereo head unit. On the angled upper section, a Lowrance HDS9 display and a Yamaha engine display keep the captain apprised of what’s going on in and around the boat.
A door to the sidedeck from the helm, twin overhead sunroofs, the bulkhead door and opening side windows ensure the cabin is well ventilated, and window glass all around ensures the NC 895 (the NC stands for New Concept) is well lit. The cabin house is offset to port slightly, making the starboard sidedeck slightly wider than the one to port.
The layout is about what one would expect from a 30-footer. A small galley unit — a two-burner stove and a sink — is built into a console to starboard and under a lid that serves as a countertop when lowered. A refrigerator is housed in the base of the captain’s chair. A dinette sits to port and the helm is forward of the galley.
The dinette is versatile, a trait that owners will appreciate. It consists of two doublewide bench seats facing each other on either side of a high-low table. With the table lowered and filler cushions in place, it can be a chaise lounge or a berth. The backrest on the forward bench swings fore and aft, so the bench can become a forward-facing companion seat.
Heads to Rest
Down a set of centerline steps and in the bow is the stateroom. An island berth — close to queen size but tapered a bit at the foot to provide room for people to move along its sides — dominates the space and has storage in the base. Long hull windows and an overhead hatch keep the space well lit, and six cabinets built in along the hull sides at eye level provide ample storage. Direct and indirect LED lighting provides nighttime illumination.
A surprise can be found aft of the landing at the bottom of the steps. A second sleeping space is tucked beneath the helm and dinette area. Headroom over the berth is limited to sitting up, but it’s large enough for three adults or four or five children to sleep, making the NC 895 a definite weekender.
The head is to starboard of the landing and includes a Jabsco toilet and a sink. It’s a wet head with a seat that drops down over the toilet, for seating and shower supply placement.
- Given the current popularity of smaller pocket cruisers and the demand from consumers for outboard power, the French builder is probably on to something with the NC 895, which is the largest in the outboard line.
The sunpad on the bow doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but it does further the theme of versatility. It’s made up of three sections. All three can lie flat. The head of the first (aft) section can lift to create an angled cushion for a sunbather’s head and back. The middle section can angle up, too, to create a backrest that turns the lower (forward) section into a bench seat. That’s a versatile bow on a 30-footer.
In the cockpit, the sides of the C-shaped settee hug the transom, the port gunwale and the cabin’s bulkhead, creating a lounging and conversation space around a table in the great outdoors, which can be covered by a Bimini or left open to the sun and sky. Lower the table and add filler cushions, and the settee becomes a sun lounge, in case the bow is occupied. In a clever nod to the fact the boat is outboard powered, the aft section of the settee moves forward on tracks to make room for the engines when they are trimmed up and tilted forward to get the lower unit clear of the water. The settee remains intact, just slightly smaller, and the engines get a respite from the water.
The outboards don’t eliminate the swim step entirely. Smaller swim steps — call them platformettes — are to either side of the engines, and the starboard one includes an integrated swim ladder. A side boarding door is fashioned into the starboard gunwale a few feet forward of the transom, for boarding from higher docks.
While the NC 895 isn’t a fresh-off-the-design-table boat for Jeanneau — it started under the Merry Fisher name — the outboard version is new for the North American market and takes advantage of Yamaha power in the form of twin F200s, which is the maximum power available for the boat.
A hard chine at the waterline and a couple of more below it help with lift and knock the water down, for a nice and dry ride. Those chines helped get the NC 895 out of the hole and to 20 mph in a fraction less than eight seconds (though Yamaha tests with fewer people on board recorded a time of 7.18 seconds). Turns were tight and stable, so trying to shake loose some tube riders or picking up a downed skier or boarder won’t be a problem.
I recorded some performance numbers, but we had five or six people aboard, so the numbers were adversely affected. Yamaha tests yielded results that were similar but better (with only two people aboard), so what you read here are those numbers. Top speed was 44 mph at about 5950 rpm. Even at that speed fuel efficiency was better than 1 mpg, with a fuel burn of 39.5 gph. A solid and efficient cruise speed was right around 26.8 mph, at which point the Yamahas were turning at 4000 rpm and burning 14.8 gph.
Given the current popularity of smaller pocket cruisers and the demand from consumers for outboard power, the French builder is probably on to something with the NC 895, which is the largest in the outboard line (the four inboard models are all larger). Its beam is less than 10 feet, so towing is definitely doable, its ride smooth and soft and its 106-gallon fuel capacity gives it good range for weekend excursions. Families and close friends who don’t mind sharing a smaller space will find the accommodations adequate and the comfort level more than sufficient, whether the wind is whipping by at speed or the anchor is attached firmly to the bottom of a picturesque cove.